Music Hall of Williamsburg
Clutch

Clutch

Into Another, Lionize

Tue, December 31, 2013

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Music Hall of Williamsburg

Brooklyn, NY

$35 advance / $40 day of show

This event is 18 and over

Clutch
Clutch
Forget whatever you thought about Clutch. Earth Rocker crumples up the bad categories that have miscast them for years — stoner rock, post-hardcore, metal, grunge — and leaves no question about what they are: a damn good rock and roll band.
Earth Rocker is a solid, straight-up rock and roll album, exactly what the band had in mind for their tenth studio album, now that their Weathermaker Records label is fully up and running. “It might be the best Clutch album that has ever existed,” says guitarist Tim Sult.
It's a concise, efficient album. That was the point, says drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. “We really tried to reign in the jam aspect of the band. We like to improvise a lot, but this album, we really wanted stuff mapped out. We wanted to go into the studio fully armed to make a really powerful record.”
“I'm excited about its succinctness, and how balls-to-the-wall it is,” says frontman Neil Fallon. “The length of an LP is optimal for enjoying a body of new music, approximately 40-45 minutes. There's something to be said about Side A and Side B. It's more cinematic, and that was the approach.”
The album began taking shape when Clutch toured with Mötorhead, then Thin Lizzy. Revisiting those two favorite bands, they were able to apply their own experience as musicians to better understand the dynamics of their heroes. “The songwriting process happened around the time of those tours, so that really sank into our writing,” Sult recalls. “Maybe people expected us to go more acoustic or bluesy, but this album definitely showcases a riffs-in-your-face kind of style. These songs ended up being faster and a bit more rocking.”
“Overall, we wanted the album to pick up the pace a little bit,” bassist Dan Maines explains. “Songs developing at a faster tempo led to a very straightforward songwriting approach.”
That songwriting simplicity is also indirectly a result of the Basket Of Eggs EP issued two years ago with the Weathermaker re-release of Blast Tyrant. “That acoustic stuff represents a new style of writing for us,” Maines says. “It kind of forces you to strip down what you're playing. We had almost two years to spend on the writing process, and we had a lot of ideas. Having two years allowed us to trim the fat.”
Clutch are passionate students of rock and roll, and music in general. Gaster's love of a good shuffle brought that rhythmic approach to nearly half the album. Professor Longhair's “Bald Head” — notably the loping style of Earl Palmer's swinging eight notes — was a direct influence on Earth Rocker. So was Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey, also a shuffle monster.
“When you hear a light shuffle, or the brushwork on 'Gone Cold,' at first it can be a head-scratcher,” says Fallon. “But when you join in, you will be taken to a place you wouldn't have gone by yourself.”
Fallon's reputation as a clever lyricist will likely grow once people hear Earth Rocker. His approach is similar to writing fiction. “You've got to do it convincingly. There's a bit of theater to it, in a way. The four minutes a song is being recorded or performed, I can convince myself that I'm an expert on whatever subject I'm singing about, even if I don't know exactly what it is.”
“There are some tips of the hat to rock and roll history in the lyrics that I enjoy singing because they reference the album in a bigger picture. 'Rocket 88' is considered the first rock and roll song that used distortion. That lyrical reference on 'Crucial Velocity' kind of fuels Earth Rocker as a whole with that back story. It's American myth, even though it really happened.”
Not everything on Earth Rocker is strictly vintage rock and roll. Maines made sure his love of the aggression and minimalism of Bad Brains and Fugazi was applied to these tracks. “The simpler the better, and I really tried to keep it streamlined and a little more focused. Whatever came to mind first was pretty much what I stuck with throughout the whole recording process. I didn't feel the need to try to overcomplicate the parts.”
The influence of their favorite bands might have inspired Earth Rocker, but continuous growth as players also affected the album. “You wouldn't have a song like 'Earth Rocker' five years ago,” Gaster insists. “We've continued to grow on our instruments, finding our own voices. Hopefully, you hear that on the new songs.”
Behind the scenes, Earth Rocker is also a result of an inordinate amount of preparation for Clutch. The album was entirely plotted out before recording even started at The Machine Shop in Belleville, NJ, with veteran producer Machine. “In the past, we would go into the studio and write,” says Fallon. “That never worked out to anyone's satisfaction. It was really important to do a lot of pre-production, knowing exactly what we would be doing when we went into the studio. It was crucial that we did all that prior to hitting record.”
“It was so mapped out that we weren't even in the studio together. You had to take a lot on faith. But once you know a part inside and out, you can move on to worrying about performance. If you're trying to remember it, then you're not playing from the heart — you're playing from the brain. That always sounds stale on playback.”
The Earth Rocker sessions were largely based on faith for Sult, a guitarist more attuned to riffs than solos. “I would have never expected to be playing as many solos,” he says. “On this album, they definitely had more of a direction than they usually do. It definitely took a lot more concentration, but I walked away from this album liking them more than I have on any other album.”
“I just decided to trust the producer this time and not try to second guess too much. Having Machine there really helped. He's very opinionated on what it should be, as far as performance goes. He definitely pushed us in a direction we normally wouldn't go.”
It was Machine's idea to replicate the flow of their live set with the running order of Earth Rocker. “He kind of made a set list of songs we do live at festivals,” Fallon explains. “He wanted to reproduce that energy in an album. He pointed things out to us, bringing us back to listening to ourselves as a fan would, to make an album that could be played beginning to end at a show, and everyone would dig it.”
“There's a certain energy to our shows that we've had difficulty capturing on tape,” Maines admits. “I think this record comes closer to really capturing that energy of Clutch live. It's a very balanced album. There's no B-side material. It's an album of A-sides. That sounds pretty bold and confident, but that's the way we feel about Earth Rocker.”
Into Another
Into Another
Into Another's music was not easily categorized. At once hard rock, grunge, alternative, and post-punk, the band's arresting melodies collided with their stop-and-go rhythms. They added to that a guitar wizardry steeped more deeply in classic heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden than the New York City hardcore scene that nurtured half of the band's membership early on, and an esoteric, far-reaching lyrical scope delivered skillfully by Richie Birkenhead's silky banshee wail. Through several indie albums and one major-label offering, fans and critics got to know Into Another as an intriguing, soulful quartet capable of transporting listeners with their adventurous soundscapes and other-worldly approach to guitar-based rock & roll. Into Another came together in 1990. Birkenhead, one-time guitar player for seminal straightedge flag bearers Youth of Today and vocalist for the reggae-tinged Bad Brains-inspired Underdog (who released an incredible album through Caroline), hooked up with drummer Drew Thomas, who he had known for years through the New York City scene. Thomas -- himself a hardcore alumni who spent time bashing the drums for Revelation Records recording artists Bold -- shared Birkenhead's desire to abandon the limiting conventions of the hardcore music style and explore other types of songwriting. The pair found exactly what they were looking for in Lower East Side musician Peter Moses, a longhaired guitar player who had never performed in a band before. His wild and uninhibited playing style greatly impressed Thomas and Birkenhead, who next recruited bassist Tony Bono. Bono had done a tour of duty in proto-thrash act Whiplash -- a band about as unlike Bold as one could imagine. Into Another performed their first show at New York's Pyramid, sharing the stage with a budding White Zombie. They were soon after offered a recording contract by Revelation. The following year, they released their debut, a self-titled album displaying Into Another's sharp musical chops and tripped-out spiritual vision, encapsulated by the band's multi-pointed star logo which adorned the album's cover artwork. In 1992, Into Another released the playfully titled Creepy Eepy EP -- four songs that reflected their increasing range. One of them was a lamenting ballad for a fallen friend laced with beautiful acoustic playing and heart wrenchingly honest and poetic lyrical prose. The band grew in popularity, with the press, fans and major labels taking an interest in this odd band comprised of a shorthaired hardcore singer with a high-pitched range, a mod-looking drummer, and two longhaired guys in bell-bottom pants. 1994 saw the release of what many consider to be their masterstroke -- the epic Ignaurus opus, filled to the brim with spectacular songs that venture into deep, dark, and progressive rock territory while still being firmly anchored in melody, groove, and abrasive angst. This album catapulted Into Another into the ranks of much-heralded "buzz" bands. Many proclaimed them to be the proverbial "next big thing" to arise out of the hardcore scene alongside one-time labelmates Orange 9mm, Quicksand, and Civ -- all of whom went on to sign with major labels. Into Another left the indie world in 1995, signing a deal with Disney-owned Hollywood Records, who at that time was best known for releasing the Crow soundtrack. They gave Revelation one last EP, a benefit release for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, as the band was made up of three vegans and one vegetarian. Into Another entered Seattle's London Bridge Studios with producer Rick Parashar, a man who had previously worked with Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, to mix their next full-length album. They emerged with Seemless, an album that reigned in the excesses of previous works in favor of shorter compositions and more direct, straightforward lyrics, without sacrificing Into Another's unique and well-established musical identity. They supported the album's release with several dates on the Warped Tour alongside L7, labelmates Seaweed, New York hardcore veterans Sick of It All and, more yet, the public never quite warmed up to the band. They released one more record through Hollywood, the T.A.I.L. single (featuring incredible non-album B-sides). Sometime after they recorded another album's worth of material -- weird, trippy songs steeped in electronica and drenched in effects that strayed far away from the band's barn-storming guitar rock. But the recording was never released and the band broke up. Thomas went on to enjoy a short stint with New Rising Sons while Birkenhead reformed Underdog and embarked upon a reunion tour. ~ Ryan J. Downey, Rovi
Lionize
Lionize
Gaining fans across the world, Lionize takes pride in their original sound, DIY work ethic and fiery live shows. DESTRUCTION MANUAL, (produced by J. Robbins of Jawbox) finds the band continuing its exploration of the stoner-rock, funk and reggae landscapes.
This twelve-song LP calls to mind classic reggae and rock albums with a decidedly modern spin. The band's foundation on drums and bass are LaMel Randolgh and Henry Upton who hint at a rock-and-roll version of Sly and Robbie joined with the classic scorching Hammond organ and key sounds from Chris Brooks and the commanding guitar and vocal work of Nathan Bergman. Reggae heavyweights David Hinds and Selwyn Brown of Steel Pulse lend their vocal talents on the track Killers and Crooks as well as stalwart guitar work from Tim Sult of Clutch who also lends his talents throughout this record. Lionize continues to tour over 200 dates a year, having been tapped to open up for bands such as Clutch, Galactic, Steel Pulse and Bad Brains. Lionize also pulled double duty backing and supporting Lee "Scratch" Perry, garnering a slew of positive reviews.
Between recording in Kingston, Jamaica with Sidney Mills (Steel Pulse), collaborating on and off stage with artists such as Ozomatli and Chali 2na, and supporting heavy metal favorites Kylesa and cKy, the band begins 2011 on quite an auspicious note.
Despite its lack of mainstream press, the band's loyal following expands daily. With DESTRUCTION MANUAL set to be released on Hardline Entertainment early Feb. 2011 and tours supporting Authority Zero and Streetlight Manifesto on the horizon, Lionize continues to turn ears as a novel addition to the sonic terrain of rock and roll with its train of heavy riffs, wailing organ, and pulsating reggae. –from official website
Venue Information:
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 North 6th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
http://www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com/